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Icarus
June 11: Open
Marvel-MCU-1

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Kel

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#1
Falling.
“Friday!?!”

Why the fuck wasn’t he terrified of falling yet?

The sound of wind was his only answer, HUD dead, and so was he if he couldn’t get the repulsors working.

Everytime he had the same refrain, a subcurrent under his frantic calculations:

’ And what's this thing coming toward me very fast? So big and flat and round, it needs a big wide sounding name like 'Ow', 'Ownge', 'Round', 'Ground'! That's it! Ground! Ha! I wonder if it'll be friends with me? Hello, Ground! ‘

Inane quotes were his own fucking soundtrack; Tony Stark didn’t get a Theme song to his death, he got fucking Douglas Adams in his head while he fell. “Fuck fuck!” moving against the suit with out the muscle enhancers powered by the dead and smoking reactor in his chest Tony fought the pull of gravity to hit the emergency reboot sequence, the low profile reactor embedded once again in his fucking chest hummed to life, the taste of coconuts flooding his senses. “YES!” he crowed suit and HUD coming to life around him.

“Oh shit!” ….too late, Tony only had time to flip, taking the impact with his back, protecting the reactor, crashing through what felt based on the impacts at least six floors before darkness took him.
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Marvel-MCU

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#2
Icarus

It was going on a month now. A month, and Steve had a fairly good idea just where he’d entered Hub from, but finding the portal again was…

It wasn’t as though he didn’t want to go home… But he really just… Didn’t want to go home. Because really, what waited for him there?? Bucky was in cryo, his own decision this time, until someone could figure out how to deprogram him. Sure, he had Sam and Wanda and Clint and Scott, but, truth be told? They reminded him of what had happened, of what he’d lost. No. Not lost. What he had destroyed. Like he so often did when he was walking around Hub near the borough that held Avenger’s Tower (but not the Avengers, not really), Steve looked up, looking for Iron Man, looking for Thor or Sam or… He had started to force his eyes away from the too bright-blue sky, knowing looking for any of his friends was ludicrous; Thor and Sam weren’t here, and Tony…

Red glinting, reflecting light back to him was what first caught his attention, and Steve looked to where whatever it was was… Falling. Hard and fast, too.

Red and gold gleamed in the light, and Steve knew exactly what, who, he was looking at. Watching, while he fell. Oh no. ”Pull up. C’mon, Tony, pull up…” What had happened? Why was Tony here?? And falling, why was he falling?

Damn it! Whatever it was that had happened, Tony’s arc reactor was out, he could see the space where it should be glowing that soft, perfect shade of blue, and it wasn’t lit up. Iron Man had no power, and he was falling, too fast. Steve was in motion all at once, from a dead stop where he’d paused to see what had caught his eye in the sky, to a full out run as quickly as he could. And Steve could run, too; thank you Dr. Erskine and the serum you created. (And thank you, too, Howard, for your Vita Rays.)

He knew he wasn’t going to make it, though. Even as fast as he was, it was going to take too long to get to where Tony was coming down, but Steve didn’t slow down. Tony would need help, even in the best case scenario. ”Help! Someone, he’s going to need help!” Assuming this wasn’t the worst case scenario, Tony would need help. Assuming… Steve wasn’t going to assume. Not in this situation; he couldn’t. His heart did a flip when he saw the suit come to life. Too late, though. Tony wasn’t able to pull back up, wasn’t able to even come to a somewhat controlled crash landing.

Steve hissed a breath in between his teeth when Tony crashed, not stopping until he came to a skidding halt near his friend, nearly breathless, ”Tony!” Was he awake? Dead? ”Please be… Tony, talk to me, if you can hear me, say something.” Even if it was to curse and tell him to leave, that was better than silence as Steve shifted to try to find the clasp that would release the faceplate.

“That’s not going away anytime soon.”
*
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Marvel Comics-616-ish

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#3
Where was he?

At first, he’d thought that he’d just been sent back to New York from Asgard with the rest of them, that maybe the godly teleporting had been a little bit off. Maybe his cape (he didn’t REALLY think it had been Mercury’s cape, but still) had interfered a little with the Asgardian magic sending them back, stranger things had happened. That wouldn’t explain, though, why none of the team was answering his comm. It didn’t explain a lot of things about this place. New York was a place of life, of conflict, of unpredictability, and Justin knew one thing for sure: This wasn’t New York, not in any sense he knew it. Something was off, and he couldn’t place just what it was, until he saw Avengers Tower, and the difference became so obvious that he slapped himself. The city was whole, as was the tower. Hours before, he’d been looking over this city after the Worthy had laid waste to it, but now, the buildings were standing. Avengers tower itself was standing. People were going about their business instead of hiding in their homes in case anything else happened. Everything was… normal.

This was not the New York he knew.

He landed in front of the tower, peering up at the top, everything looking exactly as it should, which was exactly what shouldn’t be. “This makes no sense,” he muttered. People were stopping to gawk here and there as the superhero, perhaps not Iron Man or Thor levels of famous, but still recognizable, stood among them. Could this be some sort of trap? Slowly, he looked around, waiting for it to be sprung, wondering just what the purpose was, who would have enough resources, who would want to do this to him. Was this, maybe, a time travel thing? Had he gone back in time? Wouldn’t that be great? If he’d gone back to before the Worthy had risen, he could warn everyone, he could stop it from even happening. He could save everyone who’d been lost in the crossfire.

He was about to go into the building, search out the team, find out what was wrong with his comm when something half-glimpsed out of the corner of his eye turned him from the building. “What the…” Tony? It was a distant figure, but that red armor was pretty distinctive, but it usually wasn’t falling like that, not unless something was very, very wrong…

There was no time for hesitation, no time to even think. Justin streaked into the air, flying as fast as he could, faster than he normally would be comfortable with. This was no time to be squeamish, his teammate’s life was on the line… and even from here, he could tell that he wasn’t going to make it. He jetted up the side of the building, even as he heard the thunderous crash of cement giving way repeatedly under a plummeting, armored body. “No no no no damn it, Justin…”

He flew across the building, peering down into the hole to see the figures at the bottom of the hole, and he felt his stomach drop down to his feet. “Oh god, Tony!” He dropped down into the hole in a controlled fall, holding his cape around him so it didn’t snag on any of the jagged edges of broken floor. “And… Steve? What happened! What…” He paused once he was close enough to really get a good look at the man he’d thought was Tony… but the armor was all wrong. “…the hell?” Still, he didn’t slow his descent. Whatever was going on, someone had just fallen through a roof, and they were going to need help. “That’s not Tony, what’s going on here?” he asked as landed on the other side of the armored figure, also trying to help get the armor off. The armor wasn’t what he remembered, but it was decidedly a Stark model, at least. Had someone raided Tony’s lab and not been able to control it?
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Marvel-MCU-1

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#4
“FUCK!” Tony sputtered to wakefulness, one brown iris eclipsed by a blown out pupil, the world a fucking blur on that side. Thankfully he had one good eye to see- “I’m dead aren’t I?” He babbled trying to blink blood away, “Otherwise I fell into the PlayGirl mansion again.” Wait...why did he say that? Playgirl? Ooouch fuck him, why couldn’t he lift his arms?

“Lemme go.” the suit shifted restlessly, sluggish to respond with only the secondary reactor powering it, wait...what had the blonde pretty one said? “Tony?” he glanced trying to focus on the other guy assumedly ‘Tony.’ “Tony?” a gauntleted hand came up to point to the way to pretty brunette, “No fair only one Tony allowed…” his protest cut off, attention arrested by the gleaming red and gold gauntlet, palm faintly glowing. “The fuck?” flexing his fingers told him that it was at least yes indeedly do really him wearing this...suit? “What the fucking fuck is happening? Where am I?”

Brown eyes blinked rapidly as a better question came to mind. “Why can’t I remember my name….” Except he’d just said Tony? Or...Fuck! The suit groaned, metal protesting his movements as Tony tried to get to his feet, listing badly hands reaching for support from the rubble.

“Who are you and what did you do to me!” Instincts flared along with his repulsors, biofeedback sensors picking up the threat and targeting the two men, one hand out in his classic repluser stance.
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Marvel-MCU

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#5
Icarus

Hearing his name, Steve’s head jerked up from where he bent over Tony, worry and stress showing in the tension of his shoulders, in his back, even the way his fingers moved jerkily. ”I don’t know. I’ve been here... awhile now. He just appeared in the sky as far as I know, and… You saw.” It was force of will that kept his voice even right now; his friends, the people closest to him would recognize that, of course. Steve never allowed his control to break when one of his team, one of his people, his family (you don’t have the right to think of Tony like that anymore, not after what you did), were hurt or in danger. So his voice was even and firm, even though Steve was fighting to stay calm, stay focused.

Jaw clenching at the other man’s statement that this wasn’t Tony. It was. Steve was certain of it. ”It’s Tony. I know the way he falls. It’s him.” Tony moved a certain way in the Iron Man armor; and Steve had fought alongside his friend long and often enough to recognize it even in relative stillness. This was Tony Stark, and he was hurt.

Upon hearing the loud swear come from Tony, Steve gave a relieved sigh. Thank goodness! He could almost laugh when Tony asked if he were dead, not the happy sort of laugh, but rather one filled with stress and just a little too loud, too high, to be anything near calm. ”No, Tony, you’re not dead. Hurt, though.”

And then Tony confusedly asked about...himself? Pointing to the… Whoever this other man guy was; Steve didn’t recognize him, but he’d seemed to recognize them, so there was that, as strange as it was. His hand was steady when he raised it, pointing to Tony, ”You’re Tony. I’m… Steve.” it took all of his will not to flinch, to wait for Tony’s violent reaction that Steve knew would come. If Tony remembered what had happened. Leipzig, Siberia, the damn accords…

Who were they? Oh. Steve’s face fell. He didn’t want to fight with Tony, no, but that didn’t mean he wanted the man to… Not remember anything. This was bad. Grimacing, Steve took a deep, soothing breath in, ”I am Steve Rogers, you are Tony Stark. I didn’t…” he wouldn’t lie, and while he hadn’t done anything now he had hurt Tony in the past… ”You took one hell of a fall, Tony. The suit seemed dead when I saw it. You don’t remember… Anything?” That was worrisome. Turning to the other man, he frowned, ”We need medical. I can get the suit off of him, and I can patch up some of the external, but.. I have no way of knowing if he’s hurt internally.” Then he turned back to Tony, ”Calm down, please, Tony. We’re not here to hurt you, we don’t want to fight. I just want to make sure you’re alright. Please.” Please just let us take care of you. Please stay calm. Please don’t turn this into a fight, I don’t want to hurt you. ’”Please.”

“That’s not going away anytime soon.”
*
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Marvel Comics-616-ish

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#6
Justin still wasn’t sure what was going on here. He knew Tony, and this guy? This wasn’t Tony. Oh, sure, there was some definite Stark resemblance, the guy could have been Tony’s brother or cousin, but it wasn’t exact. The armor was wrong, too. Justin had tried to go for the information port on the neck to get a diagnosis of Tony’s condition, but it just wasn’t there. There were so many things wrong here that he knew he had to focus on the one thing that made sense to him: This man was hurt, and he was attacking.

Instinct kicked in on that one. Justin darted backward, pulling his cape up protectively in front of him. It wouldn’t do a hell of a lot against Tony, but depending on what weapons were packed into this armor, it could at least keep him from getting a hole burned in his chest, and as long as he stayed on the other side of this guy from Steve, he couldn’t focus on both of them at the same time.

“You fell out of the sky,” he repeated, “You fell through at least half a dozen stories of a building. You’ve got a concussion, maybe some broken bones and internal bleeding. You need to lie down and let us help you. I’m a doctor, we’ll get you patched up, enough to get you home so that I can really take care of you.” Now he wished he’d gone inside the tower to make sure that everything was online, but then… everything seemed to work here, at the very least. “You can’t be fighting right now, we don’t even know how badly you’re hurt. Now lie down again. You’re okay, we just want to help you.” Behind his cape, his hand slipped down toward his blaster, though he didn’t draw it yet. He didn’t want to use it, but it was the only weapon he had that stood any sort of chance against someone in any sort of Iron Man armor.
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Marvel-MCU-1

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#7
“Hey!” The gauntlet swung unsteadily toward the blonde Steve... “I'm right here, not talking about me in front of me!” That sentence made sense...right?

He could feel the suit attempting to keep him upright, working against the quaver in his legs.

The hand up pose was working; he didn't know why they were afraid of it, but hell it was working and-

“Sir?” The suit speakers crackled to life, a hollow sounding echo of a man's voice speaking. “Sir. You are injured. Please allow Captain Rodgers to assist you.”

Hub. It gives you what you expect and sometimes what you need. Part of Tony would always react to that voice, the programmed echo of the man who had been more of a father to him than his biological one.

“Jarvis?” The armor collapsed taking Tony with it, metal alloy knees clanged harshly with the concrete and rubble. “I don't trust you…” something inside him kept screaming to not let his guard down. To fight. To never be taken again.

“Sir. Please you are hurt.” The voice shifted to a soft Irish brogue, “Sir. I'll watch you, but you need medical attention.” Fridays on board AI kicking on at last, taking the confused head nod as confirmation, the suit opened up, carefully depositing Tony, a thin iridescent blue cable still connecting the reactor embedded in his chest to the suit.
The battered red and gold armor knelt next to him, taking up a sentry position.

He wanted to say more, but with out the stabilizing nature of the armor Tony was fading fast.
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Marvel-MCU

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#8
Icarus

Calm. It was important that he remained calm in order to keep Tony calm. Tony, who didn’t remember… Anything. Who didn’t remember being Iron Man. Who didn’t remember who Steve was, let alone what had happened. Who was hurt, so hurt, after taking a horrible fall that Steve had never wanted to happen again, let alone watch. ”He asked a question, Tony, and I answered, that’s all.” Thanks to something, Steve wasn’t even sure what it was or where it came from, his voice was even, quiet, but smooth. Calming.

Steve wasn’t exactly afraid of Tony blasting him with the repulsors. Sure, Tony could hurt him with it, but Tony wasn’t the sort of man who would attack unprovoked (physically or emotionally), and Steve had absolutely no intention of provoking Tony to attack.

”Please allow Captain Rogers to assist you.”

Thank god for small miracles. The disorientation that Tony had, the loss of memory, didn’t extend to…. ”JARVIS?!” it wasn’t just an echo of Tony’s own question, it was a startled exclamation of recognition. JARVIS… But the AI was...gone. He become a part of Vision. His vision grew misty as he reminded himself that something was odd here, and then the voice wasn’t JARVIS’ anymore, but Friday’s. ”Thank you, Friday.” he sighed, regretful that it wasn’t really Jarvis that he had heard.

”I don’t trust you.”

The words cut deeply into Steve, but he couldn’t really blame Tony, now could he? He didn’t deserve the other man’s trust, not after what he had done. ”Fair enough. Trust your AI, Tony. That you made. We need to get you help.” When the suit opened up, Steve had no illusion that it was because Tony had decided to trust him at all, but because he knew he was hurt and needed help, because Friday had made sense, because Friday had decided to give him the thinnest thread of trust in order to save Tony’s life. ”It’s going to be okay, Tony. We’re gonna get you help.”

That was when he finally looked up at the man who had also arrived to help Iron Man. The man who hadn’t thought Tony was Tony. ”Tell me you can help him. Tell me that. He needs medical attention, now.” There was a thread of steel in Steve’s voice, not the voice of Steve Rogers, but the voice of Captain America, the voice of a man who was used to giving orders and having them obeyed. ”Help him. Please.” The last word was spoken with a softer tone. Tony had been Steve’s friend, once. Had been one of the few things that had grounded him in the present instead of setting him adrift in memories of the past. Family.

Steve wasn't prepared to lose that entirely yet. He might no longer have the priviledge of calling Tony Stark his friend, but a world without the man in it wasn’t something Steve relished.

“That’s not going away anytime soon.”
*
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Marvel Comics-616-ish

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#9
Jarvis? Justin looked around in a slight panic, probably missing something while he looked for the Avengers’ loyal caretaker, wondering what he was doing up here… but then, they’d come up here thinking Tony was hurt, so maybe Jarvis had seen it, too? Who knew. He didn’t see the man anywhere around, so Justin chalked that up to one more mystery for the day (as if he needed more).

“Get him lying down,” Justin said as he holstered his gun, going for the device on his other hip. “Of course I’m going to help him. I don’t know what the hell’s going on here, but I’m still a doctor.” He held the medical scanner over the man, frowning at what he saw. “Hell, is this a time travel thing? Shrapnel in his chest, electromagnetic interference from that,” he gave the reactor a light tap with his knuckle. Not to mention that the eyes were the wrong color. It was like someone was trying to impersonate Tony on old information with details missing. Granted, he’d never been able to keep up with all the changes happening to Tony’s body. One week he had his armor coming out of his bones, the next he was pumped full of extremis… well, okay, that was an exaggeration, but keeping the man’s medical history straight was a nightmare.

“One thing that I do know is that we need to get him back to the tower. I’m showing broken ribs, a lot of muscle strain from impact, and an intracranial bleed. I can fix that, but I sure can’t do that here.” He looked up from the scanner at ‘Tony,’ “Can your armor lock up to keep you rigid?” At this point he wasn’t going to take anything for granted. “We’re going to need to carry you out of here.” He wished that this was anyone else hurt, and anyone else helping him, because flying him to the mansion would have been a lot easier.
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Marvel-MCU-1

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#10
He might not remember who he was or know what was going on but he was quickly learning that he didn't like being talked around. “Right here.” He growled of course when he was directly addressed he didn't know the answer. Thankfully apparently the AI in his suit did.

“Yes. The armor is not damaged that severely.” Came the soft Irish voice. “If you've completed your exam..” the armor moved back tohalf cover him. “Hey!” He also found out that a) he had a THING in his chest and b) he DID NOT LIKE people touching the thing! “Shit what the hell??” His fingers scrabbled at it only to be stopped by a faintly frantic voice. “Sir! Please do not remove the arc reactor! You will have less than five minutes before the remaining shrapnel enters your aortic sack.”

Tony was slowly also starting to understand that he also knew a few big words with out thinking about it. So he stopped because yeah he understood that. “Why is there shrapnel in my heart?” He squeaked out, not protesting as the armor moved him into a supine position.

Friday kept the front open. “Captain Rogers I do not recognize the man beside you however be advised that he is using Stark Technology of unknown province. As per Sirs standing orders I cannot allow him to interface with the Armor until he has been vetted by Sir.” The AI paused. “And in his current state he is unable to give that authorization. The protocols default to you next.” She ended softly.

“Protocols? How well do I know you??”
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Marvel-MCU

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#11
Definitely Not in Kansas

”We need you to lie down, Tony.” Steve wasn’t going to try to force Tony to do anything, as much as it was evident that Tony wasn’t quite himself, and that he needed medical attention right now, he couldn’t bring himself to force anything on his friend. Once-friend. He wasn’t even sure if they were friends anymore!

In his...state… Steve hadn’t actually registered the arc reactor until Justin reached out and tapped the glowing blue device in Tony’s chest. Steve’s breath caught, his chest feeling tight, but his arm snapped out to take Justin’s wrist gently in hand, pulling the offending limb back away from Tony and his arc reactor. ”Don’t.” He spoke quietly, but with a firmness; he wasn’t upset, he was calm, but he knew that the touch wouldn’t be welcome, and Tony was already hurt and vulnerable enough.

Looking to Justin, he murmured, ”You said time travel?” He looked back to the reactor, then to Tony, ”You… You had this removed… After the incident with the Mandarin… Did something happen since…?” he frowned, Tony wouldn’t know - he didn’t remember. Amnesia. Or something. Reaching up, Steve rubbed his face with the palm of one hand, ”You don’t have to answer that. I’m sorry, Tony. Just... Please listen to Friday.” Why was there… Steve closed his eyes, ”Because you were involved in an...incident… Wherein you were gravely injured and shrapnel was left in your chest. It wasn’t the best conditions. The reactor,” Steve motioned to the device in Tony’s chest without ever coming close to touching it, ”powers an electromagnet that keeps that shrapnel from your heart.” And please, don’t ask me to explain more than this…

Back to the tower. ”I can… With your permission, Tony, I could carry you, in the armor, back to the tower.” When Friday confided that her protocols, on who to trust with Iron Man’s armor, defaulted to him with Tony unable to make informed decisions, Steve… Stared. Was she kidding?! After what had happened with the Accords?? After what had happened in Siberia?!? Tony had left…

”Tony, you are the stupidest smart person I have ever met…” He sighed, reaching to pick up the man, ”For now, Friday, my concern is getting Tony the medical attention he needs. No one should need to do anything with the armor to do that, right? So for now, I think it’s a moot point.” He didn’t know this other man. He knew himself, and he knew Tony, even if he wasn’t sure they were still friends, or could be friends again… But Tony had left him in Friday’s protocols…

Maybe it was wrong, but that gave Steve just a glimmer of hope.

“That’s not going away anytime soon.”
*
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Marvel Comics-616-ish

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#12
He might not be a Stark, but Justin wasn’t a fool, either. The fact that Steve was acting like this was Tony, added to the fact that he wasn’t really consulting Justin on anything, was leading him to some very disheartening conclusions. There would be time later, though, to console himself over this mess. Right now, there was an injured Iron Man who needed him to take care of him… even if it wasn’t his Iron Man. Which, unfortunately, meant that this wasn’t his Steve, either… although the fact that he seemed out of sorts about these things left Justin wondering what, exactly was going on. Still, the answer was obvious: He wasn’t on his world anymore.

Focusing on the matter at hand, he put his (apparently contraband) medical scanner away, doing his best not to swear about that. “You are the most self-defeating man I’ve ever met,” he muttered under his breath as he unfastened his cape. “More worried about your proprietary secrets than your own damned life. You’d get to stroke out if you hadn’t crashed right in front of Captain America.” Much more audibly, he said, “Don’t try to think too hard on anything, Tony, and try not to frustrate yourself. You have bleeding in your skull, it’s creating pressure on your brain. We’ll fix it. Until then, it’s going to cause you memory problems at the very least.” It would also cause lapses in consciousness, and he could have a stroke or die if it wasn’t corrected, but it wasn’t going to come to that. Justin wouldn’t let it come to that.

“Don’t,” he said, holding his hand over Tony as Steve went to pick him up. “This’ll be easier, on him and on us, trust me.” Bunching up his cape, he hooked the fasteners onto Tony’s shoulder, then wrapped it underneath him and across his chest, holding onto both ends with one hand on Tony’s shoulder. Then, squeezing the cape, he gave that same mental impulse he gave when he made it levitate him, causing it to float Tony gently into the air. “Help me guide him out, we don’t want him running into anything. The tower’s not far away, then this should all be easier.” He kept his eyes on Tony, not meeting Steve’s, having had about as much of the man looking at him like a stranger as he could take for the moment.
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Marvel-MCU-1

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#13
Concussion or no Tony Stark's brain was a weapon in a class of its own. He'd been collecting the dropped bits of information; his name was Tony, apparently Stark based on what the soft Irish voice implied, he had a goddamn electromagnet embedded in his chest(which probably explained why he couldn't take any deep breaths), he trusted the blonde enough to place safeguards that specifically exempted him into his care...

Who the hell was he really?

“At least I'm not a natural blonde!” He shot back blinking at being insulted in such an odd way.

If an AI could sound uncomfortable Friday made a good attempt at it. “Captain Rogers, once the reactor is detached from the armor and until Sir can make repairs to the onboard power I will not beable to-” the soft Irish brought cut off as Justin spoke. “Clarify. Stark tower? Processing-” her voice buzzed uncharacteristically as the AI reached out with digital feelers attempting to ‘call home’.

Hub is fluid, the Friday aboard the suit was a standalone version able to act without connection to the main frame when the need arose and had already processed that wherever they had landed it was NOT New York, that information had not been requested and with her Sir in critical condition it had not been a priority to share with the humans either.

“My protocols have been accepted conditionally; the Tower is not-” her verbal voice cut off as she shunted more processing power to ‘fighting’ with the AI system ruling the Tower here.

Tony was starting to slip, sliding into grey fuzz, he was pretty sure he was floating but that might be the intracranial hemorrhaging.


He was being taken, he was trapped, struggling against his restraints again the suit itself “Friday-” he heard himself say, “Overridde 8-a.”

Friday had forever in the terms of AI to run through her protocols even in desperation sending a query to the Tower here. “Sorry Boss.” She soothed quietly. “I can't do that. Captain Rogers is here.”

"Steve? He left me..." Tony lost his struggle to remain conscious.
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#14
Icarus

You know there’s a problem with others are saying I’m right about something, Tony. I think self-defeating is pretty accurate. Maybe more than stupid.” He was trying to keep his voice light, trying not to let the gravity of the situation weight Tony down too much, but he was losing that fight pretty badly, and he knew it. But he had to at least try. Even when Justin called him Captain America, and he flinched, he was trying. His hearing picked up on the title, and while Steve didn’t remark on it, it still stung. He wasn’t Captain America. Not anymore… He had even given up his shield. What would he give to get it all back? Not just the shield and title, but all of it. The Avengers, their family, the tower, the compound…

There wasn’t much he wouldn’t give up for it.

”Aw, I can’t help my hair color, Tony…” The smile that Steve flashed to the genius was apologetic and just a little bit shy. When Justin told Tony not to think too hard, Steve let out what could only be labeled as a rather undignified snort as he muttered, ”Good luck with that. Asking Tony Stark not to think too much is like asking anyone else not to breathe.” His tone was dry, but also amused, with a subtle bit of fondness for the man they were speaking of. They’d fix it. That was what the man kept saying. Intracranial bleeding. Steve really hoped that it wasn’t as bad as it sounded. Because it sounded like Tony’s brain was bleeding. And Tony’s brain… He couldn’t be hurt like that. It would… God it would kill Tony…

When Justin stopped him from picking Tony up, Steve stopped, letting Justin show what he could do, which would make it better for Tony, and meant that Steve wouldn’t have to carry the other man. Not that Steve didn’t want… But Tony wouldn’t, not if he could remember, and Steve was hoping to restore Tony to himself. Even if it meant that Tony would send him away immediately afterward. Which Steve was selfishly hoping wouldn’t happen. He nodded and moved to help direct Tony to the tower. ”Right. I can do that. Thanks.” If his voice was just a tiny bit...off...who could blame him? When he had arrived in Hub, he’d been entirely alone, and he hadn’t thought that anyone would actually notice he was gone not right away anyway… Now, he had Tony, but Tony didn’t remember him, and while that meant he also didn’t remember Siberia, it meant that it would all come crashing back, and this reprieve would be over soon enough. Too soon. Right now, Steve’s blue eyes were mostly unfocused, leaving him looking… Lost. And once again, alone.

”Can we power the suit - you - another way, Friday??” Steve was suddenly alert again, his voice on the precipice of panic. He didn’t want to lose anyone. Friday might not be human, she might be new, but she was a person, and Steve didn’t want to lose her. He knew Tony wouldn’t want to lose her, either.

Override 8-a? He winced when Friday told Tony she couldn’t obey him. ”Friday, what is override 8-a? What is Ton-” He cut off as Friday and Tony interacted, and then blinked, shoulders slumping, his face falling as his eyes slid away from Tony, the suit where Friday’s voice echoed from, and away from the doctor who was accompanying them, shame filling his chest and crowding out nearly anything else for a few moments. ”God.. Tony, I…” But Tony had fallen unconscious, and Steve gave a start, ”He’s out… Is… Please tell me he’s going to be okay.”

“That’s not going away anytime soon.”
*
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#15
Justin snorted, finally looking up at Steve with a ‘give me a break’ look when he did the self-depreciating routine. “Now I know you’re not my Steve,” he muttered, shaking his head. Captain American and Iron Man butting heads was nothing new to him, but he couldn’t remember anyone who’d said that Steve was in the wrong who hadn’t been proven completely and utterly wrong themselves. Oh, sure, Tony might have more technical knowledge, but who was the one with a moral compass that functioned more of the time? That one was easy.

What surprised him was that the suit couldn’t link up with the tower here. He’d assumed it was their tower, but now he wasn’t so sure. Either way, though… well, it was their only chance. As long as the override codes that he had would be the same in another dimension, they should be all right, and Justin hadn’t really considered the possibility that they wouldn’t be. How did you explain to a machine that it was trying to link to something that another version of its creator had made? He looked up at Steve. “Can you tell it to not fight this? The last thing we need is the tower and his armor fighting until he dies while they have a digital pissing match.”

As they started carrying him out, predictably, Tony started struggling. Naturally. “I think he’s trying to re-take control of the armor to get away from us,” Justin said, rolling his eyes behind his mask. He was surprised that Tony hadn’t insisted on operating on himself, just to be completely self-destructive. “But yes, he’s going to be all right. Are you kidding me? Him being unconscious is probably the best thing for his chances of survival that’s happened since he crashed through the roof. Just get him to the tower with me, get him up to the infirmary, and I’ll take care of the rest. After that, we can figure out what the hell’s going on.”

The trip up the street to the tower was awkward, but Justin was happy to find that when he leaned over the access panel, everything functioned like he remembered, down to the bio-scanners.

”Recognized: Angel. Alpha-level access granted.”

“Thank God something’s familiar today,” he muttered. “Medical elevator override: Halloway-5-5,” he said, louder, as they came to the elevators, giving his emergency code that, he knew from experience, was about to give a very unpleasant ride to anyone in the closest elevator if there were none unoccupied. He watched lift number two’s floor number suddenly descending in what could only be described as ‘controlled free fall,’ but the elevator was mercifully empty when it arrived. “May miracles never cease. Let’s go,” he said, leading Steve on.

In the infirmary, he deposited Tony on the operating table, pulling his cape out from under before, without missing a beat, he headed over to the side of the room to scrub up and get a gown on in place of his uniform jacket. “Activate surgical assistance proticols. Patient presents with blunt force trauma distributed over the back of the body. Confirmed three broken ribs and an epidural hematoma. Patient also presents with multiple existing shrapnel fragments near his heart, analyze for future removal.” The shrapnel, after all, wasn’t going to kill him right now. The hemorrhage in his skull, however, was.”

Properly gowned and masked, the assistance arms coming down over the operating table helped him into his gloves. “Now… are you going to open up and let me work?” he asked the armor. That, also, would be a typical Tony Stark problem.
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#16
There was a noticeable pause before Friday answered Steve's questions. “Override 8-a ensures that Sir will not be taken again.” Friday protected her creator as she could picking her words with care. If Captain Rogers wished for more detail he could ask more specific questions.

Friday might have to obey her protocols but her creator had given her and all his AI’s as close to free will as he was able, and while she was ‘young’ in comparison to her predecessor she’d been ‘born’ at a time when her creator has been incredibly vulnerable. Jarvis had laid the core programming; Protect him.

She ignored the ‘pissing match’ comment, he could ignore the realities but Friday had already come to understand that they were in some kind of alternate dimension and if she was to secure her creator she needed to verify the Tower would accept him as Tony Stark.

While the building was distinctly not the familiar layout, the AI was close enough to some of the primitive ones Sir had created in Dummy and U that she was finally able to push back to upload her kernal.

“Yes. Dr. Halloway.” Friday's voice now came from the rooms speakers. “My ‘pissing contest’ has ended and I am now integrated with this universe's version of Stark Tower.” Her soft voice held more than a hint of smug sass.

“Captain Rogers’s access is enough for you to be allowed to operate on Sir with my help.”
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#17
Icarus

His Steve? His?! He turned to look at Justin, frowning, brows furrowing at the possessive language, but Steve didn’t remark. Thus far the man hadn’t done anything that warranted any sort of admonishment, and hadn’t treated Steve with anything but respect. ”Well, I’m not sure what you mean by that, exactly, but I am who I am. But I know when I’ve made a mistake or done someone wrong, and I did both with Tony.” He should have, could have, just listened to Tony. Trusted the man, his friend, to have logical, legitimate reasons for what he’d done. Even in the aftermath of Ultron, what came out was that Tony had had viable, even logical reasons for what he’d been trying to do.

A suit of armor around the world. In theory, it sounded good, really. And if Tony had talked to the rest of the team (or if Bruce had!) then maybe things wouldn’t have happened the way they had. Maybe the disaster in Sokovia could have been avoided. Or maybe not. None of them could really know for sure. What Steve had hoped was that they had learned from the whole mess.

They hadn’t learned. He hadn’t even learned, as it turned out.

Digital pissing match. Steve had been awake in the new century for long enough to understand the term ‘digital’ and have a vague idea of what Justin was referring to, but he wasn’t sure why Friday would be having a pissing match to begin with. It was Friday in the tower, wasn’t it??

”Override 8-a ensures that Sir will not be taken again.”

What, exactly, did that mean?! Taken again? Steve’s mouth tightened into a fine line at the very ideas that the statement caused to run through his mind, his voice strained as he told Friday, ”No one is taking Tony anywhere except back to the tower, where he can get medical help for his wounds.” Things might not have ended well the last time he and Tony had seen one another, but that didn’t mean that Steve cared any less about the man. It didn’t mean that he was…

His jaw ached from clenching it shut, but he wasn’t going to slow down their progress or interrupt whatever it was that Friday was doing in order to ask more questions. Right now they all needed to focus on getting Tony to medical. Getting him the attention and care he needed. That was what was important the rest…

The rest could wait!

Of course Steve was going to agree that the suit needed to open in order to let the doctor operate on Tony. He had no choice but to trust the man with this, because Steve certainly couldn’t do what needed to be done, and he doubted Friday had that sort of expertise, either. He didn’t know Dr. Halloway, but that didn’t mean the man was anything other than what he presented as. He had access to the tower, emergency access even, and knew where medical was, so…

He was pacing the hallway outside of the operating room, waiting to be told that Tony was okay. That Tony would be okay. Suddenly, he looked up, as he almost always did when speaking to the AIs that lived in and operated the tower, ”Friday, what did you mean that Override 8-a ensures that Tony wouldn’t be taken again? What does it do?” His voice was softer, still strained and thick with concern, but… ”And… I’m sorry, I know I’m asking a lot of questions, and you’re helping the doctor, and if you need me to be quiet so you can focus, I will, but… What did you mean by ‘this universe’s version of Stark Tower?”

At the very least, maybe finally getting some actual answers about this place, and what was happening here would keep his mind off of worrying about Tony. Maybe.

“That’s not going away anytime soon.”
*
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#18
Justin didn’t answer Steve… there would be time for that later. He was in a world where the only thing that seemed to recognize him was the mansion’s systems. Tony didn’t know him, but then again, Tony had a head injury and didn’t look like his Tony. Steve didn’t recognize him either, though, and that? That hurt. He was nothing if not professional, though, and that was something that had nothing to do with his need to cut into Tony’s skull.

That somehow struck him as wrong. Tony’s most prized attribute (okay, second most prized, probably) was his brain. He had never had an opportunity to do surgery on it, no matter what insane, stupid stunt Tony pulled off and got hurt by. The giant control freak had erased his brain once, and Justin hadn’t so much as gotten to help. Now, here, in this place, he was going to be poking inside a Stark skull, and there was no one around who’d appreciate the jokes he could make about the limitations of medical science to correct all of the problems that were inside this skull. There was no justice in the world.

Tony’s AI, though, Justin decided that he liked. “All right, all right, point taken,” he said, chuckling. “I’m sorry, okay? Now… we’re going to be performing an emergency craniotomy. Download the bio-data from my medical scanner and orient the table so I have a good angle at the location of the bleed. We’ll do it simple and we’ll do it fast: Open, drain the bleed to remove the pressure, cauterize the bleeding vessel, and close it back up when any swelling has been reduced. Monitor his vitals, let me know without any beeps or alarms if anything begins to drop or elevate outside a five percent margin of error or if anything spikes suddenly.” This was one of the reasons he always liked having a living person helping him, or at least a rational mind. Nothing got someone’s heart pumping and hand shaking like a sudden beeping on the monitors, and he needed to keep a steady hand for this. A quiet word was all he needed to tell him what the problem was, if one arose.”

“Razor,” he said, holding out a hand toward one of the closer robot arms. Here he was, getting to shave off a patch of Tony’s hair… and again no one to enjoy the moment with him. Maybe later people would be able to smirk at the situation, but Steve seemed far too serious for that right now.
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#19
He asked the specific question, Captain Rogers was nothing if not tenacious, he and the boss had that in common. Likely why they both got along so well and consistently failed to find middle ground.

How could they when both had a hold your ground mentality?

If JARVIS’s base algorithmic personality programming had been based on Edwin Jarvis the Stark butler of Tony’s youth. Friday was based off of Pepper Potts.

She was very much a red head.

“Yes Dr. Halloway.” The table shifted holding her creator in place, “Do you prefer to be addressed by your title or code name?” Her soft voice responded to his instructions, directing the robotic arms to assist him.

The portion of her that was listening to Captain Rogers checked over his vitals her creator when he was in his right mind he would have wanted to know.

“Override 8-a is part of the Icarus protocols.” All she was doing was delaying the inevitable, there was no way that the bosses surgery would be done before Rogers asked the right questions.

“Which are a subset of Avalon.” Friday develed into the Towers mainframe trying to connect with the suits in the armory with little initial success.

“When Sir is mortally injured to incapacity and is in hostile territory, and the suit is not able to escape, is charged with eliminating the threat that Tony Stark and the suit in the wrong hands is.”


Friday in the operating room softly reported- "I have checked, Sirs blood type matches the banked blood here." A automated cart trundled in, setting up the IV's.

"Look around you Captain Rogers; do you recognize this room? Really? The elevator? the coffee shop in the lobby. What happened to it? This is not our home. This is not even Dr. Halloways home. From what I logged dueling the fall we have arrived on some world where parts of different slices of history exsist."
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#20
Icarus

Tony was going to have surgery. On his brain.

Steve couldn’t imagine a situation that seemed more….wrong than this. Tony’s mind was his… It was his super power, he supposed. It was what made him Tony. Infuriating, frustrating, stubborn, genius Tony. Steve didn’t even try to follow the doctor and patient into the operating room. That wasn’t his place, he would be worse than useless in there, and he knew it. He understood that. But he couldn’t, wouldn’t, just leave, either. Not when so much hung in the balance, depending on this operation.

Tony would be alright. Dr. Halloway would help him. Steve held onto faith with an iron grip, because if he didn’t believe that, then where did that leave him? More lost than he’d already been.

When had Tony Stark become so damn important?

Yeah… He wasn’t diving into those questions. Not right now. Maybe never. Instead he focused his thoughts on the vague comments that Friday had made, and what he wanted to know about the override that Tony had tried to call up.

Icarus. Avalon. Eliminate the threat that Tony Stark and the suit in the wrong hands…

Steve blinked, his heart stuttering in his chest as he absorbed just what Friday was implying, his breath leaving him in a huff as he worked to get himself back in order as quickly as he could. It didn’t take Steve long; it never did, even when Tony was throwing curve balls at him like this all of the damn time. ”He was trying to self destruct??” Steve’s jaw worked as though he couldn’t decide whether he wanted to clench it shut or allow it to hang wide open in shock. ”Friday, thank you for… For not doing that. I…” Steve knew who Icarus was. Greek mythology had been around before the war, and he had enjoyed drawing the Greek’s heroes and gods. Arthurian legend had also been around during Steve’s youth, and had been one of the many books he had read before shipping out.

Icarus and his father had made wax wings to escape the Labyrinth with, and Icarus, being ever adventurous, had flown too close to the sun and fallen to his death.

Avalon was the resting place of King Arthur.

Yeah, both of those sounded promising, didn’t they??

Taking in a carefully deep, calming breath, Steve tilted his head back, staring at the ceiling, ”Friday, please tell me about Icarus and Avalon. What… What do they do? And.. The override… It was a self destruct? And he… He tried to…” Steve’s head dropped down into his hands, managing to keep himself mostly silent for the few moments it took to gather himself up again.

When Steve spoke again, his voice was even, even if his heartbeat was not. His throat felt dry and itchy, but he swallowed against it and got past it. This was more important than finding a glass of water. ”Friday, if he thinks that I’m… The wrong hands…” an enemy, ”Then why did he leave protocols to fall to me??” That had given him hope, before, and now he was hearing this, and… He’d really rather prefer Tony not even have things in place to…

”Yeah… This place is… Odd.” To put it lightly. He looked around the hallway, then shook his head slowly, ”I know it’s the tower, Friday. But… No. This isn’t… Tony’s home.” his voice finally broke on the last bit. The tower had been Steve’s home, but he knew it wasn’t anymore. Not after everything. Tony’s home, yes. But Steve knew he wouldn’t be welcome here if not for the emergency. On a world, Friday had said. ”I was… I was in Coney Island, just trying to… And then suddenly I was here.”

“That’s not going away anytime soon.”
*
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